Faith Over Fear – Ways to Begin to Choose Faith in Life

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Has the fear of failure ever caused you to quit things in life before you could fail? Do you live in fear of even trying? Is God calling you to step out of the boat but the waves seem so high that they seem to blind you to the hand He is holding out to you? We hear that we should have faith over fear and it makes a wonderful devotional but fear is not always a choice. Sometimes it is the result of very real trauma.

I know this trauma myself. It is the kind that cruel words can create in a young person that they begin to carry with them well into adulthood. It caused me to quit everything! I was so afraid of failing that I would end up quitting before I could actually fail at something. After all, then it was on MY terms!

Well, with the Lord’s help I started to learn to fight that fear and you too can learn how to start defeating fear in life and start living in victory! Read on to learn more!

Faith word on blocks with text overlay that says Faith Over Fear - Ways to Begin to Choose Faith in Life and the Worth Beyond Rubies logo at bottom of the image.

I Quit Everything – “You’re a Failure!”

I literally would just quit everything in different areas of life that I had started!

I would take the first step and begin projects or businesses or even relationships only, later on, to give up on them. I would just abandon them while still very much in progress and, sometimes, even when they were thriving!

I never seemed to ever finish ANYTHING and I could never understand why that was the case.

It wasn’t that I didn’t enjoy what I was doing. In fact, in most cases, I loved what I was doing. But no matter how much enjoyment a project gave me, it would eventually get filed in the archives with every other project I had ever started!

Why? Why could I not ever seem to complete anything?

Some people may have looked at someone like me the wrong way and thought they are lazy. Maybe they are flaky, maybe unmotivated, maybe selfish.

But it is not any of those things. It is something far deeper; something far more hurtful.

When I was twenty-four years old, I heard words spoken over the phone that would stay with me for decades.

The words cut like a knife and caused scars just as deep as if they came from one. They were words spoken by a very close family member.

There were some people at the house that day to do a job in the yard. This family member called me on the phone and asked me to try to catch the workers when they were on their way out and ask them to give him a call. This was WAY before cell phones were a thing!

My daughter, who was four years old at the time, was playing in her room and, shortly after I hung up the phone, she began crying. So of course I got up and ran in to see what had happened.

I was doing what any mother would do.

While I was in her room comforting her, the workers had left. It was only a few minutes but I had missed them.

So then I immediately called this relative on the phone to tell them I was sorry but my daughter fell and I had to go help her. And that is when he said the words…

“You’re a failure. You always were a failure, you’ll always be a failure”

How to Overcome Fear in Life – Realize Words Can Weigh On You Like Stones If You Let Them

Words like those hurt no matter who they come from. But the pain is deeper when it comes from someone that is supposed to love you. I wish I could say this was the first time words like these came from this person but it wasn’t. But these hurt more than all the others. The weight of these words can be heavy and they can last a long time; sometimes even forever.

And it was those words that would start a cycle that would culminate in me never finishing things in my life.

I’m a failure.

It started to seep into the core of who I was; a failure. I believed it. After all, it came from someone close to me, someone I trusted. Every day I put on those words like a weight around my neck. 

It wasn’t just those words in and of themselves, but the cutting remarks that came from this person before this incident and then ones that would come from this person and others from that point onward.

Once you allow someone to make you feel that way about yourself, it sometimes becomes easier for you to allow others to make you believe similar things because your feelings of worth have been eroded.

However, the words ‘you’re a failure’ were by far the most damaging because they summed up everything this person would ever make me believe about myself over the years. At this time, I did not know Jesus so I didn’t have the Word of God and the love of Jesus to fill me with the good things about myself as being made in His image.

I felt, without realizing it, that if I just quit something, if I just walk away from it, then I can’t fail at it. If I give up BEFORE I can fail, then this person can’t be proved right.

It was on MY terms. It was MY choice. At least that is what I believed.

I was actually living with a fear of man that was making me live this self-fulfilling prophecy.

I believed I was in charge by quitting. Therefore, it wasn’t a failure if I just made my own decision to quit in the first place! 

These words didn’t just make me feel like a failure, they created this intense fear that I lived with every day! 

I had to learn to overcome that fear in my life or I would prove him to be right!

An image of the earth and Ephesians 1:4 quoted from ESV

Spiritual Warfare – The Enemy Tries to Keep Us From Finding God

What I didn’t realize was, in my attempt to protect myself from his words, to protect myself from this “prophecy” he had spoken over my life (you’ll ALWAYS be a failure), I WAS indeed proving him right.

I WAS failing. It was just that I was choosing it rather than letting it choose me. Every time I had given up on something was a time I failed.

I had let him win by giving up out of FEAR!

False Evidence Appearing Real

We all know this acronym for FEAR. It is truly accurate.

What I was facing were these words; nothing more than words. I was giving mere human words the power to hurt me, but worse than that was I was giving them the ability to mold me into someone God never intended me to be.

These words, these lies, carry weight only when you give them more faith than what God’s Word says!

God’s Word should always replace the words of cruel people! God’s Word should always be above what ANYONE says to you!

But I hadn’t learned that yet at that point!

You see, I had actually succeeded in life up until that point. I had always been a good student. I had friends, a beautiful daughter and I had a business that I was working from home at the time that was successful.

It was a lie!

I was giving mere human words the power to hurt me, but worse than that was I was giving them the ability to mold me into someone God never intended me to be. Click To Tweet

I HADN’T always been a failure! But that lie was about to grow to the truth.

After about a year of building a successful business, I quit.

I started college, I quit.

was married, I quit.

I.Just.Quit

I was fearing failure where I had not even experienced it just because this person labeled me!!

Now to clarify again, I was not saved yet at the time. That would come later. But I firmly believe the enemy was setting me up to fail at even that way before it happened!

He was trying to keep me so weighed down in my own fear and my own running away from everything in everyday life, including the good news of the Gospel, that I would miss God altogether.

Sunshyne Gray logo and text that says Taking Every Thought Captive Online Course
I Recommend this Taking Every Thought Captive Course by Licensed Christian Counselor Sunshyne Gray

Overcoming My Own Fears of Failure and Rejection

But I didn’t. I did find the Lord. I always knew who God was but I never knew exactly who Jesus was for me! Thanks to my sister I found Him.

After I was saved I thought I would have the victory! I thought this would all change and that my faith in God would be enough for me to be able to finish what I start! I would finally not feel like a failure because God says

Who I am in Jesus

…and in Him you have been filled to fullness. He is the head over every ruler and authority.

Colossians 2:10 TLV – Bible Gateway

He chose us in the Messiah before the foundation of the world, to be holy and blameless before Him in love.

Ephesians 1:4 TLV – Bible Gateway

You are from God, children, and you have overcome them, because greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world.

1 John 4:4 TLV – Bible Gateway

I can do all things through Messiah[a] who strengthens me.

Philippians 4:13 TLV – Bible Gateway

But that wasn’t the case! Bible verses weren’t going to be enough to fight this fear and the enemy knew it. He knows scripture! He kept me blinded to what I really needed,

I was still giving more weight to what people said! And that affected my faith and it affected what I thought God must have felt about me too.

I began to feel unaccepted even by God. In other words, I felt like somehow I had slipped under some spiritual VIP rope and snuck in but wasn’t truly supposed to be there. I felt as though somehow I got God on a technicality but wasn’t really wanted even by Him.

I feared failure even at my salvation, even though my salvation had nothing to do with me! The enemy had me convinced my salvation, Yeshua’s love for me, was based on my own merits and not on His love for me. He made me feel God’s presence and God’s love was for others. He had me believing the children of God were those who looked a certain way and talked a certain way and I didn’t fit that mold.

I began to feel unaccepted even by God. In other words, I felt like somehow I had slipped under some spiritual VIP rope and snuck in but wasn’t truly supposed to be there. I felt as though somehow I got God on a technicality but… Click To Tweet

Giving in to a Spirit of Fear – Even Including my Faith!

So I fell away from my relationship with God. I backslid somewhat. I couldn’t even accept that even HE could love me.ir?source=bk&t=live31 20&bm id=default&l=ktl&linkId=e523a8fcbd8a5753d789e4260d00fa92& cb=1543087190183

Now, I didn’t truly quit this time. Deep down I still had my faith in Jesus . I never walked away from that. But I lacked the relationship.

I wouldn’t go to God. I felt like I wasn’t worthy to. My belief in Him was there but I didn’t walk in it. I felt like an outsider.

Unwanted. Unaccepted. Uninvited. Because that was how this person had made me feel.ir?source=bk&t=live31 20&bm id=default&l=ktl&linkId=d2c8a0d0d3818d2fecc7146e0a1c6b98& cb=1543087223360ir?source=bk&t=live31 20&bm id=default&l=ktl&linkId=da46aca871e5f791ddbb7fd9e5a220c6& cb=1543090608457

An image of a woman facing away from us with the sun setting off in the distance and her arms up in a V shape toward the sky and 1 John 4:4 quoted from the ESV

I felt like if this family member had this opinion of me, this person who was supposed to care for me, maybe God felt the same way about me. Maybe I just wasn’t good enough for anyone!

I stopped trying to know God deeper because I was afraid He would see me the same way this person did. If I just kept this distance between me and God maybe He wouldn’t notice what a mess I was.

Oh but He notices! And He gives us grace and gives us beauty for ashes.ir?source=bk&t=live31 20&bm id=default&l=ktl&linkId=f44d7318d6671a4403b9546b13e8a763& cb=1543087261342

He saw my mess. He saw my fear. And He saw my loneliness.

Oh, and there was loneliness. I didn’t even feel my Christian sisters wanted to know me.

I still go through that today at times, like somehow they will see I snuck in! So I kept everyone at a distance and only built surface friendships. I tried to be everything to everyone so that people wouldn’t see the failure this person said I was.

So that I would be liked. So that I would be accepted.

But God is bigger than our failures, He is bigger than our mistakes and He is bigger than the lies the enemy tells (sometimes through the mouths of people who are supposed to show us love) and He breaks through those walls we put up. And He can break through your walls too!

How to Have Faith Over Fear

I wish I could sit here and write to you and tell you I had this amazing victory overnight and overcame fear and failure completely, but I didn’t.

I still struggle to believe what God believes about me and it is a daily exercise in the Word to keep reminding myself of who He says I am.

It is a daily battle I go through with the enemy who says:

“You can’t be a Bible teacher…you’re not smart enough.”

“You can’t get your Graduate Degree in Seminary. You’re too old.”

“You’re a Jew who believes in Yeshua. No one thinks your teachings have any value for them.”

“What does fear mean for a believer? It means you don’t even follow the Word. Where are the weapons of faith weak one?”

And countless more….

If someone ignores me I automatically go to a place of “I’m not good enough”. It’s a constant struggle to give these thoughts over to God and rebuke the devil and his lies!

THEY ARE ALL LIES! 

He wants me to think that way so I will QUIT! He wants me to think that way so that I never live in the victory Jesus died to give me!

God is working in me to turn around the lies that someone spoke over me but I am not 100% there yet. I am FAR from where I was, but I am not there yet.

But daily I spend time in His Word and daily I remind myself what He says about me. Daily I go to verses that tell me about His love for me.

I have to put on the full armor of God every single morning and remind him that God doesn’t need me to FEEL fearless. He just needs me to put my faith in Him to handle it for me.

Ephesians 6:11-18

Put on the full armor of God, so that you are able to stand against the schemes of the devil. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the worldly forces of this darkness, and against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. 13 Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you may be able to resist when the times are evil, and after you have done everything, to stand firm. 14 Stand firm then! Buckle the belt of truth around your waist, and put on the breastplate of righteousness. [a15 Strap up your feet in readiness with the Good News of shalom. [b16 Above all, take up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 And take the helmet of salvation[d] and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. [e18 Pray in the Ruach on every occasion, with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, keep alert with perseverance and supplication for all the kedoshim.

TLV – Bible Gateway

I am not perfect but I am not a failure either!

I don’t blog to tell you how perfect my life is. Blogging is so I can share my struggles, my pain, my reality! I do this because I hope to be able to show even one person they are not alone!

Being a believer and being a blogger doesn’t mean we have our stuff together. We just share our messes! It means we lean even more on a God who can fix our messes and, in time, help us to see ourselves the way He sees us, not the way the world sees us.

Learning how to overcome fear in life, especially the fear of failure, starts with replacing those old recordings with God’s Word!

I am not a failure! I may fail AT things but that is ok! That is how we improve! That is how we learn and grow! But I am not a failure!

I am not a quitter! Unless God tells me it is time to let go of something, I keep at it! Believe me, I have been tempted more than a few times to quit blogging! The enemy comes in with that comparison game

And yeah, I might have a moment! I might have a day! But I pray and ask God…do YOU want me to stop? And if I don’t get a yes, I keep going.

I am NOT a quitter!

And grace by grace, God is helping me believe that!

What are some ways you have learned to overcome fear in life with God’s Word? Share in the comments!

And be sure to get your FREE Prayers and Scriptures for Effective Spiritual Warfare Workbook below as my gift to you!

Tree of Life (TLV) – Scripture taken from the Holy Scriptures, Tree of Life Version*. Copyright © 2014,2016 by the Tree of Life Bible Society.  Used by permission of the Tree of Life Bible Society.

54 Comments

  1. Oh how I needed this tonight! My whole life I’ve been told I’m a failure…and tomorrow I turn 54…
    I still can’t finish anything! I’ve been criticized for so long that it’s the only voice I hear
    anymore. So now I just don’t start anything.
    It’s too painful to become, over and over, what
    I’ve heard all my life. So I pray and try to have
    a closer walk with the Lord, but I stay to myself
    and love my family. I hope it’s enough. I hope God sees I’ve tried in this life.

    1. Oh Patricia my heart breaks for you because I know all too well how you’re feeling! I know that avoidance cycle! You ARE what words say you are but they’re not peoples words…they’re God’s! You are who He says you are!! Go to the Word and write out scriptures that tell you who you are in Him and every time those old recordings play, replace them with what God says about you!! It does work but it takes time!! I’m always here if you need to talk.
      And happy birthday!!!!

  2. This relative of yours sounds like they certainly have issues of their own. So awful 🙁 Things that are said to us and happen when we are young really stick even if we don’t realize it. I too have had problems finishing things and I still try and figure out why. It’s actually one of my goals for 2019 – to finish everything I start (unless of course I really don’t like it). Anyway, this is really a thought-provoking read and thank you so much for sharing your personal story.

    1. Thank you Yolanda! Yes those words really do stick. It’s amazing how the good words don’t stick as well!!

  3. I can relate and as a blogger too I know the struggle. I started blogging back in June hoping to supplement my one income family. There are so many days I feel like a failure and that I am not contributing enough around here. I refuse to give up though. I am almost 6 months in and things are getting better. I still feel like a failure most days though. It is a hard feeling to ignore and I struggle daily with these thoughts.

    1. I know that feeling with regards to blogging too but don’t give up! I actually started blogging 2 years ago for about a year and I wasn’t getting anywhere. I quit for a year (not because of the blog but because we went through some major moves in our lives so I couldn’t put the time into it) and it was so hard to get it going from scratch again. But this time, it is going great! So keep at it!! I have a couple of posts on blogging that have some free courses linked! You may want to check those out because they helped me a TON! Here is one https://www.worthbeyondrubies.com/blogging-tips-for-beginners/

  4. My heart hurts for you that someone could be so hurtful. Words like that cut deep to the heart and can seriously affect us forever. There is true freedom in knowing Jesus, but that doesn’t always mean it is easy. I am by nature a quitter too. I can only succeed at anything when I put my whole trust and faith in the Lord to carry me through.

  5. Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me—That saying is certainly NOT true. Words do hurt and they can break your heart and your spirt. Continue to push forward, continue to pray, and continue to blog. You are Awesome!

    1. Thank you Gina!! Yes I think words can be far more hurtful than broken bones. Bones heal, many times words continue to hurt

  6. Thanks for sharing this and for writing about this Diane. I can completely relate to this. I am still haunted by words spoken over me from decades ago. But this doesn’t only make me want to quit before finishing, but sometimes to not even try. That’s why I can completely understand how people could bury their talents. It’s not that they choose to be that way, but that they have felt so beaten down by previous hurtful words that they wonder what’s the point of even trying. Words can have a paralysing effect on us, especially if we keep rehearsing it in our minds. We need to not only draw on God’s word and what he says about us, but also to speak some of these out in faith, even when we don’t fully believe it ourselves. God’s words can be life changing.

  7. Thank you! Lord bless you for sharing. I have struggled with this all my life as the result of an emotionally abusive father. It came back last year. And I came to same conclusion. If I quit ahead of time I have control. But you really don’t. Thank you for your courage and love.

    1. Thank you Will and I am so happy you found the courage to come to that realization as well. Bless you!

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